Financing your training

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Education, if it must be accessible to all, nevertheless has a cost that should be foreseen when building a training project. In particular, it is necessary to distinguish between the costs linked to the training itself, and all the “additional” living costs that will result from it. The bill can quickly get heavier, but fortunately there are many aid schemes for financing higher education.

Training funding

In France, there are 2 types of establishments: public establishments and private establishments , whose training costs differ.

In public establishments , training is almost free for the student, who will nevertheless have to pay registration fees, which are reduced for any national of France or of the EU+. For non-EU+ nationals, additional registration fees may be requested depending on the establishment. As a reminder, each year of training for a student in higher education costs the French state between €5,000 and €17,000, depending on the level and type of training.

In private establishments , the training itself is paid for, and its cost is freely set by the establishment. However, there are local, regional, national or private funding that students can benefit from in order to reduce the cost of their training.

Please note : Contrary to what is practiced in certain countries, in particular Anglo-Saxon countries, there is no state grant or regional grant specifically intended to finance registration for training. The scholarships and national aid in place are used to help the student to live during the time of his training.

Finally, when a student undertakes apprenticeship training provided by a private establishment, it is the company in which he is doing his work-study program that pays the vast majority of the registration fees directly.

Student status classification

The cost associated with a training can also differ depending on the status of the student during his training. We will thus distinguish:

– the “classic” student status  : the student is in full-time training (and may possibly have a student job alongside his training period).

– the status of apprentice  : the student is bound by an apprenticeship contract with a company, via an apprenticeship centre. He spends about half of his training year in the company, and the other half in the training establishment. This is called alternation . The student is therefore considered as a (half-time) employee of the company.

student status under a professionalization contract  : this is a different form of work-study learning, adapted to continuing education. Unlike the apprenticeship contract, this type of contract is not subject to an age condition, it can therefore be mobilized by recipients of the Active Solidarity Income (RSA), the Specific Solidarity Allowance (ASS ) or the Allowance for Disabled Adults (AAH).

Please note As the company can be heavily subsidized by the French state for each apprentice trained, it must be located on French territory. As the student is an employee, he loses his eligibility for scholarships and university accommodation.

Financing of ancillary costs

Choosing to train means devoting time to acquiring knowledge and skills in the service of the professional project that you are building. For the most part, this time is not remunerated and the question of ensuring all the living expenses ancillary to the training may then arise. 

Regardless of the training followed (in a public establishment, or in a private establishment), registration as a student opens access to structures dedicated to students, such as:


  • university libraries: generally attached to public university structures, they allow you to consult or borrow books without having to acquire them
  • university restaurants: each depending on a CROUS (Regional Center for University and Social Works), they allow students to eat at a reduced rate, subsidized by the French state.
  • university residences: also managed by the CROUS, they provide students with rooms for moderate rents, also subsidized by the French state. Please note that access to these accommodations is subject to social criteria (family income).

    Other living expenses are also to be considered. For these, students can benefit from various aid schemes, sometimes accompanied by eligibility conditions:

    • social protection: depending on the status of the student, social security (basic health insurance in France) will be different. For French students, it should be noted that the student social security scheme no longer exists since 2019. The contribution has been abolished and the annual affiliation procedure is no longer necessary to benefit from the reimbursement of health costs.
    • complementary social protection (mutual insurance): private mutual insurance companies make it possible, in return for monthly contributions, to benefit from additional protection to cover health costs. The student can then choose between student mutual insurance, his parents’ mutual insurance company or any other complementary organization. Subject to means testing, he can request to benefit from complementary solidarity health care (C2S).
    • housing assistance: subject to resources, the Caisse des Allocations Familiales (CAF) can help students pay their rent via personal housing assistance (APL, ALF, ALS). These aids can be significant in the case of low incomes.
    • civil liability insurance: being in a training building obliges you to take out civil liability insurance with a private insurance company, which covers any accidental damage you may cause. This civil liability insurance is required when you register to obtain your student status.
    • transport: France is fortunate to benefit from a good public transport network co-financed by the state, the regions, the departments and the municipalities. The agencies that manage this transport offer are independent and apply different pricing policies. They frequently offer specific rates and assistance for students. It is advisable to inquire directly with the city where you wish to study to find out about the public transport offer and the pricing conditions dedicated to students.
    • student grants : these are aid schemes managed by the French state, and subject to social criteria (family income). We can cite the BCS (Bourses on Social Criteria), merit aid, the Erasmus+ allowance, international mobility aid, Parcoursup mobility aid, Master’s mobility aid, the specific annual for students in difficulty, the Talents scholarships. Some of these aids can be combined depending on the student’s situation.

    The DSE (Dossier Social Etudiant) – Student Social File

    Enrolling in higher education, finding accommodation, a student job, applying for aid…
    All these procedures are now done centrally, thanks to the Student Social File, accessible on the portal:

    Mes Services Etudiants

    Please note: for any scholarship application, you must log in between January 15 and May 15 of each year for the following school year . After this date, it is necessary to consider a time of examination and processing of the request, the payment may require additional time. If a scholarship has been granted, it will be necessary to renew the request each year to continue to benefit from it.